ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Anaheim Ducks showed they could win some games without Ryan Getzlaf. Still, getting their captain back was an enormous help - particularly to linemates Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon.
Getzlaf had three assists in his first game back from an appendectomy, including one on defenseman Josh Manson's first NHL goal, to help the Ducks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2 Friday night.
''I felt good,'' said Getzlaf, who missed four games following his surgery nine days earlier. ''I did feel like I had my legs under me and was ready to play, so the excitement was definitely there. Being out for four games isn't fun.''
Perry also had three assists, Maroon and Cam Fowler also scored, and Frederik Andersen made 34 saves for the three-time defending Pacific Division champions in a matchup of teams that began the day last in their respective divisions. Anaheim has won three straight following a 1-7-2 start.
''Maybe the stress on the team not winning, the captain needed that break. And it was a good time for it,'' coach Bruce Boudreau said of Getzlaf. ''Every time you get to watch a couple of games, you see a different perspective.''
Clayton Stoner scored into an empty net with 16 seconds to play after Columbus' Scott Hartnell got his second goal of the night with a minute on the clock.
Curtis McElhinney stopped 33 shots for the Blue Jackets against his former club as Columbus dropped to 4-4-0 under new coach John Tortorella.
''I am not down on our team by any means,'' Tortorella said. ''I don't think our top guys are consistent enough. That has to change. We need more plays from our top guys.''
Getzlaf made an impact on just his second shift, starting the play that resulted in the game's first goal.
The three-time All-Star sent Perry on a breakaway with a two-line pass and McElhinney dropped to his knees to make the save, but Fowler was trailing the play and converted the rebound at 3:28 of the opening period.
''He didn't look like he missed a beat out there,'' Fowler said of Getzlaf. ''He gave the team a spark, so we were happy to have him back in. He's the straw that stirs the drink around here. Guys feed off his energy and his playmaking ability.''
Just 66 seconds after killing off an interference penalty against Boone Jenner, the Blue Jackets' penalty-killing unit was back on the ice when Cody Goloubef was sent off for holding Mike Santorelli. Maroon scored his first goal of the season on a rebound at 6:43 of the second.
The Blue Jackets got on the board at 9:15 of the second with their first shot of the period. It was an easy tap-in by Hartnell on a perfect feed from Brandon Dubinsky.
''Quite honestly, after the second period I thought we had `em,'' Tortorella said. ''I thought we were quicker. I thought we had `em going into the third.''
Manson, playing in his 33rd NHL game and his first after missing the previous six because of an upper body injury, made it 3-1 on a 25-foot wrist shot from the slot that beat McElhinney to the stick side with 11:14 to play.
''I had no image of what that first goal would look like. I just wanted to put it in the back of the net,'' Manson said. ''It was elation. I think I ran out of breath - I was screaming so hard.''
Columbus was 0 for 2 on the power play, and is 4 for 38 overall, after scoring at least one power play goal in each of its first five games. The Ducks are a league-best 4 for 44 on the penalty kill.
''We didn't start off great,'' Hartnell said. ''We had a bunch of good shifts in a row, but then a couple shifts especially their top line picked us apart. Mac made some great saves to keep us in the game. But you give a good team like that those chances and more often than not they are going to end up in the back of your net.''
NOTES: Hartnell had a hat trick against the Ducks in the previous meeting between the teams on March 24 at Columbus. ... The Blue Jackets are 15 games into their schedule and remain the only team in the league that hasn't played overtime. ... Columbus LW Kerby Rychel, who was born in nearby Torrance and is the son of former Ducks and Kings LW Warren Rychel, was a healthy scratch for the second straight game following his recall from Lake Erie of the AHL. ... The Blue Jackets get three days off before hosting Vancouver on Tuesday night, when they will try for their first home victory of the season in six attempts. They are the only club without a win on home ice. ... The Ducks have won four straight at home. They will be in San Jose on Saturday night, looking for their first road win this season in seven tries.